Aug. 12, 2011
MAPLE CITY, Mich. – Senior All-America forward Melissa Henderson (Garland, Texas/Berkner) piled up four goals and two assists as top-ranked Notre Dame outlasted No. 10 Virginia, 7-5 in an exhibition match on Friday afternoon at Myles Kimmerly Park in Maple City, Mich. It was the first Fighting Irish victory over the Cavaliers in preseason play since 2006 (a 3-0 win in nearby Traverse City), with Notre Dame improving to 10-3-2 against college opponents in exhibitions during the 13-year tenure of head coach Randy Waldrum.
Henderson registered her second four-goal performance in 72 hours, having a hand in six of the seven Fighting Irish scores in the match. Sophomore midfielder Mandy Laddish (Lee’s Summit, Mo./Lee’s Summit) collected a goal and two assists, while senior midfielders Molly Campbell (Mission Hills, Kan./St. Teresa’s Academy) and Courtney Barg (Plano, Texas/Plano West) netted the other goals for the Fighting Irish, and sophomore midfielder Elizabeth Tucker (Jacksonville, Fla./Bishop Kenny) chipped in with two assists.
Junior goalkeeper Maddie Fox (San Jose, Calif./Leigh) played the first and third periods (the match was divided into three 30-minute frames) and posted five saves. Freshman netminder Jennifer Jasper (Fort Worth, Texas/Trinity Valley School) came on to tend goal in the middle period, making two saves.
Making its preseason debut, Virginia got a pair of goals from Morgan Brian, as well as single tallies from goals by Amber Fry, Erica Hollenberg and Danielle Colaprico. Goalkeeper Chantel Jones played the first two periods and had two saves, while Danielle DeLisle made one stop in the final frame, in addition to UVa recording a team save.
For the match, the Cavaliers ended up with a narrow 18-17 edge in total shots, and a similarly thin 12-11 advantage in shots on goal. UVa also held a 6-3 lead in corner kicks, while each team was whistled for nine fouls and Notre Dame was flagged for all four offsides calls on the afternoon.
“I’ve got mixed feelings about today’s performance,” Waldrum said. “On the one hand, giving up five goals against any team is unacceptable, and I think all of us — coaches and players — understand that. At the same time, we did some good things offensively and scoring seven goals against a top-10 opponent is something to be pleased with. Either way, we’re going to have a lot of things to take a look at on film, which is what you expect in the preseason. Now it’s time to raise our effort, our focus and our intensity as we get ready for next week’s season opener against a very good Wisconsin team.”
After feeling each other out in the opening few minutes, both Notre Dame and Virginia picked up the pace, with the Fighting Irish firing the first salvo in the 20th minute. Laddish sent a ball out to Henderson in the right channel, and in turn, she quickly slipped a pass to Campbell knifing down the middle. Campbell worked past her defender into the penalty box and drilled her shot underneath a diving Jones.
Right before the end of the first period, Virginia got the equalizer, as Brian latched on to a loose ball just inside the offensive third and took off on a lengthy run into the attacking zone. Near the top of the box, she uncorked a left-footed blast that curled just inside the right post (30th minute).
The Cavaliers rode the momentum from that score to grab the lead a little more than three minutes into the second period. Colaprico would get the goal with another pinpoint long-range shot that found its way inside the left post.
However, as quickly as Virginia moved in front, Notre Dame drew level. Henderson pressured the Cavaliers’ defense into a soft backpass and picked up the loose ball with a 1-v-1 opportunity on Jones. The UVa netminder tried to come out and make the play, but Henderson dribbled around her and was then pulled down by Jones, leading to a penalty kick. Just as she did against Nebraska on Tuesday, Henderson made no mistake with her try from the spot it was a 2-2 match in the 35th minute.
A minute later, Virginia regained the lead on Brian’s second goal of the day from the top of the box. And then a minute after that, the Fighting Irish tied matters once again, starting with a precision lead pass from freshman defender Taylor Schneider (Southlake, Texas/Carroll Senior) that found Tucker streaking down the right side. Tucker drove all the way to the byline and then cut a perfect pass back to the top of the six-yard box, where Barg was waiting for the easy point-blank finish in the 37th minute.
Henderson then took matters into her own hands with a pair of goals to put her side in front for good. The first score (her second of the day) came courtesy of a well-weighted through pass from Campbell, leaving Henderson with another 1-v-1 opportunity against Jones, who got a piece of the initial shot, but the ball still had enough juice to trickle towards the goal line. Henderson then outraced Jones to the rebound and poked it home to give Notre Dame a 4-3 lead (44th minute).
Only a minute later, freshman forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita) started the attack for the Fighting Irish with a sharp service down the left flank to Campbell, who took a touch with purpose toward the edge of the box before serving a pass into the goal mouth. Henderson found herself with time and space and simply needed to volley the cross inside the left post to complete her second-period hat trick.
Virginia wouldn’t back down and pulled within one score in the 52nd minute, as Fry latched on to a cross in the area and volleyed home her first goal of the preseason.
Leading 5-4 heading into the final period, Notre Dame didn’t waste much time in netting the decisive tallies, scoring twice in a minute early in the frame. First, Campbell smartly picked off a short corner kick by the Cavaliers and sent the Fighting Irish on a precision counterattack, pushing the ball ahead to Henderson. In turn, she slotted a pass ahead to Laddish on a breakaway and she beat DeLisle with a low drive from 15 yards out in the 65th minute.
On the next Notre Dame possession after the kickoff, the Fighting Irish found pay dirt again. Freshman midfielder Sammy Scofield (Geneva, Ill./Geneva) scooped up the ball near the center circle and sent it up for Laddish, who quickly served a ball on the right wing to Tucker. The second-year midfielder drove into the attacking third and whipped a cross into the penalty area, where Henderson was waiting with another volley finish to give the Fighting Irish a 7-4 edge (66th minute).
Virginia scored one final marker two minutes later when Hollenberg gathered a ball on the left flank, cut inside her defender and fired a low shot inside the left post. However, the Cavaliers would get no closer, as Fox made a pair of strong saves for Notre Dame in the third period, and the Fighting Irish kept Virginia off-balance with solid possession and several good scoring chances of their own inside the last 15 minutes.
The Fighting Irish will return home for their free annual “Meet The Teams BBQ” from 4-6 p.m. (ET) Saturday at the College Football Hall of Fame in downtown South Bend. The Notre Dame women’s and men’s soccer teams will be on hand to sign autographs and play pick-up games, while fans can get their pictures taken with the student-athletes as well as the 2010 NCAA women’s soccer national championship trophy.
The Notre Dame women officially kick off the 2011 regular season at 5:30 p.m. (ET) Friday when they play host to Wisconsin at Alumni Stadium. That match will be webcast live and free of charge on the official Fighting Irish athletics web site, www.UND.com.
Season and single-match tickets for the 2011 Notre Dame soccer campaign are available by contacting the Murnane Family Ticket Office by phone (574-631-7356) or in person (Gate 9 in the Rosenthal Atrium at Purcell Pavilion) weekdays from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (ET). Fans also can purchase tickets on-line through the official Fighting Irish athletics ticketing web page (www.UND.com/tickets) or by visiting the ticket windows at Alumni Stadium on match day.
For more information on the Notre Dame women’s soccer program, join the Fighting Irish women’s soccer news Twitter page (@NDsoccernews) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the sidebar on the women’s soccer page at UND.com.
— ND —